Online Voting: Another Step Closer?

Online Voting: Another Step Closer?<@VM>Techtoon

Steve LeSueur

We may have a new president by the time you read this, but perhaps not. In Florida, where the outcome of the presidential election will determine the nation's winner, the closeness of the election has put a spotlight on Florida's vote-counting process and machinery.

For the past month, supporters of Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush have been debating which votes should be counted, how they should be counted, and how many times they should be counted.

Many of Florida's problems, of course, are not unique to that state or to this election. Nevertheless, the weaknesses of the decades-old punch-card machines are lending credibility to Internet companies that are trying to sell the concept of online voting to citizens.

Many of these companies already run elections for private companies and associations and are ready to take their solutions to the public sector. Staff Writer Bill Welsh talked to officials at some of these companies and to analysts following the development of online voting.

While many are optimistic that online voting will become more common by the next election, even the most enthusiastic acknowledge there are important policy hurdles to overcome, making it too soon to predict the future of online voting in public elections.

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